Chicken Tortilla Soup

I don’t know when I first encountered this soup. My father grew up in southern Arizona, so my family was constantly on the lookout for good Mexican food in our area. More than a few places we frequented over the years served small, hot bowls of caldo de pollo, heady with cilantro and augmented with softening chips as a welcome. The small, spicy, herbaceous soup became a favorite, and though I haven’t had it at a restaurant in years, it still brings back memories.

In these trying days, this recipe is particularly great because it can make use of odds and ends – some extra chicken, veg, etc, allowing you to stretch that packed larder a little further, and turneven leftovers into a great meal.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe by DrewCourse: SoupsCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time


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This quick and hearty soup is great on it’s own, or as part of a full mexican feast.


  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 large jalapeno pepper

  • 4 Roma tomatoes

  • ½ bunch cilantro

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 lime

  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 cups unflavored tortilla chips

  • 1 avocado, cored and sliced

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Add chicken stock, chili powder, garlic, stems from the cilantro, 2 of the tomatoes, and ½ onion to a pot.
  • Add the chicken thighs, and bring to a low simmer, cooking until the chicken is falling from the bone, 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the stock, and allow it to cool until it can be handled.
  • Discard the skin, and shred the meat with your fingers.
  • Crush the cooked tomatoes, and strain the stock before returning to the stove.
  • Bring back to a low simmer.
  • Chop most of the cilantro finely, reserving a few leaves for garnish.
  • Cut the remaining 2 tomatoes into 8 pieces each.
  • Slice the onion into long, radial strips. Slice the jalapeno into ⅛-inch coins, discarding the tips and stems.
  • Add the shredded chicken, chopped cilantro, jalapenos, onions and tomatoes to the soup. Cool until the onions are just softened.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that if your tortilla chips are salted, you may want to use less to season.
  • To serve, add a handful of tortilla chips to each bowl, ladle soup over the chips doing your best to ensure that each bowl gets peppers, onions, and chicken, and squeeze a lime wedge into the soup.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves and some sliced avocado.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

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